EUGENE, Ore. – Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders sat during his postgame news conference Saturday with his usual sunglasses, jewelry and confidence, never letting go of his confidence despite what happened here Saturday against Oregon.
His Buffaloes were demolished by the Ducks, 42-6. It was his first defeat at the head of Colorado (3-1). And it was never close despite the national “Cinderella story” his team had become after Colorado finished 1-11 in 2022.
“One thing I can say honestly and frankly: You better catch me right now,” Sanders said. “This is the worst we can experience. You better catch me right away.
He called it a “good old fashioned kick in the butt” and said: “We are all responsible for this. Let’s start with me. But he also said he was looking at the bigger picture.
“I know I’m wearing sunglasses, but I can see the future and it’s looking good,” he said.
Sanders even brushed aside comments made before the game by Oregon coach Dan Lanning, who drew a stark contrast between his team’s “substance” and the Hollywood “flash” of Sanders and Colorado.
“The Cinderella story is over, man,” Lanning told his players before the game, as shown on ABC. “They are fighting for clicks. We fight for victories. There’s a difference, right? There is a difference. This game will not be played in Hollywood. It will be played on the grass.
What did Deion Sanders say about this?
He admitted to having heard about it.
“Yes, I have messengers,” he said. “But God bless him, man. He is an excellent coach. He did an excellent job. God bless him. Take their photos. They won. I don’t shoot. They won.”
He also said the difference between No. 19 Colorado and No. 11 Oregon was “definitely not” a talent gap, but confirmed he thought his team was seven or eight good players from where they should be.
“I don’t say things just to say it, for the sake of a click, unlike what someone says,” Sanders said, referring to Lanning. “I keep the receipts.”
At the same time, he acknowledges that his high-profile personality plays a role in how his team is perceived.
“Teams are trying to beat me,” he said. “They’re not trying to beat our team. They always forget that I don’t play anymore. I had a great career…. That’s really what it is. I signed up, so let’s get started.
Some will say this makes it more difficult for his players. Sanders disagreed.
“These are grown men,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. “I’m not there. If I was out there and played every coach Colorado played against, we would be totally dominant.
How did Colorado get beaten so badly?
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix completed 28 of 33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, leading the way for an Oregon team (4-0) that scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and led 35-0 at halftime.
In contrast, Sanders’ son Shedeur struggled at quarterback as Colorado’s offensive line allowed seven sacks in front of a raucous Green and Yellow crowd of 59,889. Shedeur Sanders completed 23 of 33 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown — a 6-yard pass that came with 2:51 left on a cloudy, mild day at Autzen Stadium.
Colorado ended up giving up 522 total yards to Oregon and did themselves no favors by committing 12 penalties for 106 yards.
“There’s nothing magical or anything that they did that was just unreal, surreal,” Shedeur Sanders said afterward. “It’s just that we didn’t execute our game plan.”
The quarterback, Deion’s son, also said his team missed star player Travis Hunter “a lot,” but that wasn’t the reason they lost the game. Hunter, a two-way player at receiver and cornerback, did not participate because he was injured with a lacerated liver last week in an overtime win against Colorado State.
“We played like garbage,” Deion Sanders said. “That surprised me.”
Colorado hype takes a hit
The loss deflates much of the hype surrounding Deion and Shedeur Sanders after the Buffaloes captivated the nation with their play before Saturday. They drew more than 25 million viewers on national television in their first three games combined. Deion Sanders was also featured last week in a segment on “60 Minutes.”
After hearing about all this and watching his team take a 35-0 halftime lead, Lanning even seemed to poke another finger in Colorado’s eye when he referred to the audience in television to an ABC journalist.
“We’re not done yet,” he said at halftime. “We’re not happy. I hope everyone who watches us every week watches this week.”
Deion Sanders still greeted Lanning after the game, hugged Nix and then praised his team’s humility after the game.
“People all over the country will say this is what they needed to humble themselves,” Sanders said. “We weren’t arrogant or anything. We are confident people. If our confidence offends your insecurity, that’s a problem with you, not us. We hope to do well.
And he doesn’t think his team “needed” that to learn anything about itself.
“It’s like saying when you’re in a car accident or something, ‘Oh, he needed that to slow him down,'” Sanders said. “You don’t need that. It’s just stupid. It’s just something that happened, and ‘They got the better of us today. That’s all.”
What did Dan Lanning say next?
He said his team usually hears a pregame speech, but this time he said, “I guess there was a camera in there.”
“No speeches win games,” he added. “Players win games.”
He said that while wearing a yellow Nike “Bodacious” T-shirt in honor of Nix, the Auburn transfer who edged out Shedeur Sanders in a battle of rising Heisman Trophy contenders.
“I think coach (Deion Sanders) is doing a phenomenal job,” Lanning said. “Obviously he brought a lot of enthusiasm and response from his players, and I know they’ll get over it.” Along those same lines, sometimes I get a little passionate, a little excited about what I want to accomplish for our team, and I just want to say I need to humble myself a little bit. It’s a game. “
Colorado must now regroup to face another tough, successful opponent at home next Saturday: No. 5 Southern California, a team the Buffs have never beaten in 16 tries dating back to 1927.
Sanders said his message to the team after Saturday’s game was simple.
“Get your ass up and let’s go.”
Follow journalist Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. Email: email@example.com